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During Build IT Together in May of 2015, we spoke with Mike Cross and Kenneth Diggs from Greenleaf Hospitality Group, and Mark Roys of CSM Group, to get a varied perspective on the subject of “Doing IT with less.” This is the second installment of a series recapping that session, and we’re looking at 3 ways your organization can reduce the cost of your IT!

Think long-term value not short-term budget

Investing long-term (read: large investments) may seem daunting, but it can be worth the benefit of a consistent and stable budget in the future. After years of working with an aging server farm, CSM Group made a jump to a cloud-based system—a large one-time investment of both budget and training time, but their reward? A predictable, reliable system that gives them a consistent expected cost of upkeep.

With a lower-maintenance system, CSM Group’s IT can also focus on providing more valuable tools to the organization, to help different departments better perform their jobs. Greenleaf Hospitality Group is in a similar boat—in the last few years, they’ve made some large capital investments in their system, but they’re saving money on management costs, and a more dependable system allows them to look towards adding value to the company through strategic projects.

Allocate internal support costs

In organizations where the IT team is responsible for supporting 5, 10, or even 20 different departments or divisions, each operating on a different departmental budget, the IT team might get stuck with some unexpected support costs. To deal with that, GHG uses a model that lists all the systems used by each department—who uses them, how heavily they’re used, and how they’re supported.

This doesn’t work everywhere—Mike notes, “we’re talking about replacing our SAN, we’re not going to allocate the exact amount of space people are using, because that’s not very effective.” While end-users don’t have much say in whether or not the organization is using an SAN, they can affect costs like requesting a new phone, or a new Gmail account. When certain costs like that become allocated to the department, instead of back to IT, those users will be more conscientious about expenses.

Harness Shadow IT

Shadow IT used to be something like a dirty word in the industry, but as technology becomes more consumerized and accessible, the IT department can take advantage of end-users finding their own solutions to problems. The key, Mark tells us, is communication. “Let IT be the central hub for tools and best practices! We’ll vet those ideas and pass them to other departments who can use them!”

While shadow IT may crop up due to users who are unsatisfied with their tools, or who are avoiding cost allocations, what you need to understand is that those end-users understand their duties better than any of the IT folks. They’ll be bringing in solutions that IT may not have even been aware of. It gives you a more holistic approach to the way IT works with the organization.

Does your organization handle Shadow IT go unchecked, or do you use it strategically? Check out our previous recap to hear more from the Doing More IT with Less panel from Build IT Together.